Captivating Cauliflower Creations

March 20th, 2014

Often tossed up with the obligatory broccoli and carrot medley, cauliflower is coming into its own!

It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, pickled or eaten raw! Although tasty topped with a cheese sauce, there are lots of healthy and amazingly d’lish ways to cook up a head of cauliflower.

Oven-roasting gives cauliflower a nice sweetness and a little bit of a nutty flavor. Perfect when paired with cherry tomatoes and salty Kalamata olives.

A great new trend that I’m seeing are “Cauliflower Steaks” – yep, you heard right! Cut a couple inch-thick slices across the middle of the head and grill until tender. You can cut up the rest of the florets, cook in milk with spices like red curry, ginger and garlic, then process in a blender to make a tasty puree to serve with your “cauliflower steaks!” Try my recipe for Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Red Curry Puree, its healthy and delicious … and very low calorie!

I know the cheddar and cauliflower combo is hard to beat… so for those that like to splurge I also whipped up a recipe for a Cauliflower Cheddar Custard – I cook the cauliflower in milk, then mix with egg and cheese and bake in small custard dishes. Serve this rich and delicious savory custard next to a delicious steak or a lovely crisp green salad.

And look for tiny baby heads of cauliflower at your farmers market this summer – very tasty to roast or grill whole.

And one of my most favorite phrases is the cauliflower inspired “my little chou chou” (“my little cauliflower”) – a French term of endearment. –Kathy


Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Red Curry Puree
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.


Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Red Curry Puree
Makes 3 entrée servings or 6 as a side dish

1 large head cauliflower
1 Tbsp. olive oil for grill
kosher salt and pepper to taste
——————————————
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 cup non-fat milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
kosher salt and pepper for cauliflower

Garnish: fresh chopped mint and cilantro, lime wedges and sliced cucumber if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut 3 large 1-inch steaks out of the center of the cauliflower. Cut each one in half. Set aside.
Cut remaining cauliflower into florets to produce about 3 cups.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 1/2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until just tender but not browned. Stir in the curry paste and then add the milk, salt, lime juice, and the 3 cups of florets. Increase heat to medium high, cover tightly and simmer cauliflower until cooked tender – about 10–12 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully transfer the cauliflower and liquid to a blender or food processor. Cover the lid with a towel and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and keep warm.

Meanwhile heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks lightly with olive oil.
Place cauliflower steaks in pre-heated pan, season with salt and pepper and cook on each side until nicely grill marked (about 5 min on each side) and then move pan to the oven and continue cooking steaks until just tender (about 7-10 minutes). Or you can cook the cauliflower on an outdoor grill all the way, with the lid down to assist with cooking.

To serve, spoon some of the cauliflower puree on plates. Top with grilled cauliflower, and garnish with chopped herbs, lime wedges for squeezing and cucumber if desired.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Cauliflower Cheddar Custard
This makes an excellent light supper served with a salad, or an accompaniment to a big juicy grilled steak.

Makes 4 servings

1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp salt
tiny pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sherry wine
4 eggs
1 cup (5 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, cauliflower, garlic, salt and cayenne. Heat over medium heat until simmering, then cook for about 5 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender. (Do not let it boil.)

In a small cup or bowl, mix the cornstarch and sherry until smooth. Whisk this slurry into the hot mixture and let cook for about 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs until well combined, and then stir in 1/3 of the hot cauliflower mixture. Then add the remaining hot cauliflower mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the cheese.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide mixture between 4 well-buttered 6-ounce custard cups. (Use a ladle to do this and be sure to stir up mixture well when portioning.) Set custard cups on a rimmed baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out just barely clean. The centers should still be just slightly wiggly as the custards will continue cooking for a bit after they come out of the oven.

Serve in the baking cups, or let cool for a couple of minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn out into plates to serve.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

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